November 2, 2001
Dear Subscriber:

It was 19 years ago and my memory isn't what it used to be, but
I recall sitting in front of the broadcast console at KSEL-FM
in Lubbock. I was working the Saturday afternoon shift. The
station building was empty except for me and the announcer on
the AM side. At least, that's what I thought.

I was startled as I turned in my chair to grab an LP (parents,
you can explain to your kids what an LP is) and there she
stood in the open studio doorway. A little girl. I didn't
know where she came from. I did know she had spaghetti for
lunch because she had sauce stains on the front of her T-shirt.

"What's YOUR name?" I asked and she bolted as if I had just
pulled a gun on her.

Peggy came to the studio door.

"Is Amy bothering you?" she asked.

Peggy was the station Traffic Director. She was catching up on
some work that Saturday and had brought her 11-year-old daughter

It's no coincidence. The Peggy at the radio station is the same
Peggy I married and Amy and I, whether we liked it or not,
became family.

Our first years as step-father and step-daughter were
tumultuous. Lots of "you're not my REAL daddy" and "if you're
going to live in my house you're gonna...."

Somewhere along the line we decided we liked each other. We
dropped the "step". What difference did it make that we weren't
biologically related? We learned to care for each other as a
father and daughter. That word "step" just seemed to get in the
way. It reminded me of the bad things that happened to

I don't know when Amy and I turned the corner from adversarial
to mutual respect, but the light shined brightly on that fact
on May 1, 1999.

While I was putting on my shoes and getting ready to go to
work, I suffered a brain hemorrhage. In critical condition, I
was flown by air-ambulance from Alamogordo to Lubbock. There to
meet the plane when we landed were a blur of friends and
family...and my 28-year-old daughter Amy.

I was in the hospital for a month, and Amy was there almost all
the time. She was Peggy's right hand. She washed my face. She
combed what was left of my hair (brain surgeons make lousy
barbers). She talked to me even when she wasn't sure I could
hear her (I did). She drove the doctors and nurses nuts by
demanding blue-ribbon care and attention for me. She wasn't
intimidated by their white coats and stethoscopes. She may not
have been very popular with the hospital staff but she was my
guardian angel.

You're probably hoping there's a moral to this gush of
sentimentality. There is.

Before my hospital stay, Amy wasn't sure about the direction
of her life. She had worked in retail sales and office
administration, but nothing that paid very well or gave her
much personal satisfaction.

While spending that time in the hospital with me, she became
interested in x-ray technology. In June of this year, after 2
long and hard years of study and lots of personal sacrifice,
she will graduate from x-ray tech school. She has already been
approached by two companies with substantial offers of
employment after she graduates.

I'm very proud of my daughter. She'll be helping others, which
has become one of the major parts of her character. She'll be
working in a hospital setting with lots of dedicated and
talented people just like her.

As for me...I don't care if I ever see the inside of another

Don Vanlandingham

A mixture of seasons. While many of the trees are bare with
bushels of leaves strewn around the ground, the Sacramentos are
still yielding warm days. The highs are reaching the mid-60s
and nighttime lows are close to 40. No moisture in over 3
weeks, with dust and fire danger once again included in the
local vocabulary.
After several disappointments in Cloudcroft's search for a new
source of village water, drillers hit a well this past week that
produced around 100 gallons per minute. According to engineer
Ed Bunn, "that's a substantial amount of water".

The new well came in at only 80 feet...another encouraging sign
that this new hole could supply the village with a good amount
of H-2-0 for a long time to come.

The village water supply comes from 7 wells and 8 different
springs. Up until the new well came in, water shortages in the
village were becoming the source of a great deal of concern.
The Cabins @ Cloudcroft offers 1-2-4 bedroom mountain cabins
with kitchens, fireplaces, and cable. The Cabins specializes
in ski specials, golf specials, hunting specials, military
discounts, business discounts for groups and traveling
salespersons, family, business, church and other group
retreats. Call 1-800-248-7967 (toll free) or visit their
listing on the Lodging page of Cloudcroft.com.


For snow and skiing conditions in New Mexico and nation-wide,
go to http://www.snowstats.com/usa.cfm
Q - Does Cloudcroft have cable television service?

A - Yes. The village has been served by cable for a number of
years, yet the service does not include many of the village's
subdivisions, where satellite television is enjoying a growing

Fifteen years ago, before the growth of the satellite television
industry, receiving any kind of television signal in some areas
around Cloudcroft was precarious at best. Now homes in the
rural areas in the Sacramento Mountains are capable of viewing
over 100 different channels in full stereo sound. So much for
roughing it.
November 2, 3, 4 -- Lodge Murder Mystery.
For more information, call (505) 682-2566.

November 8, 9, 10 -- Santa's Workshop, Elk's Lodge, Alamogordo.

November 9, 10, 11 -- Lodge Murder Mystery.
For more information, call (505) 682-2566.

November 10, 11 -- Civic Center Fair, Alamogordo.
For more information, call (505) 439-4142.

November 23 -- Santa Town. Zenith Park, 5-7pm.

November 24 -- Late Night Shopping. 5-7pm.

November 30 -- Chamber of Commerce Banquet, Middle School.

December 15 -- Santa Town. Zenith Park, 5-7pm.

December 1 -- Christmas Parade. Alamogordo, 6pm.
For more information, call (505) 437-6120.

December 13 -- Preschool Christmas Program.
Cloudcroft Methodist Church. 6pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2266

December 16 -- Community Cantata. "Do you Hear what I Hear"
Cloudcroft Methodist Church. 4pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2266.

December 21 -- Late Night Shopping. 5-7pm.

December 21, 22 -- Cloudcroft Light Opera Company. Free!
For more information, call (505) 682-3317.

December 22 -- Caroling in the Clouds. First Baptist Church.

December 22 -- Santa Town. Zenith Park, 5-7pm.

December 24 -- Christmas Eve Service.
Cloudcroft Methodist Church. 7pm.
For more information, call (505) 682-2266.

December 31 -- Torch Lighting Parade. Ski Cloudcroft
For more information, call (505) 682-2733.

Cloudcroft Art Society meets the first Sunday of each month,
2-4pm, in the Old Red Brick School House. The November 4
meeting will present Kathie Mongaraz demonstrating silk
painting. No meeting in December. Call (505) 682-2494 for
more information.

Community Cantata practice meets at the High School Music
Room from 5:30-6:30pm every Tuesday. For more information
call Bob Myers at the high school.

Senior Van from Timberon to Alamogordo leaves the Timberon
Lodge promptly at 8:30am every Tuesday morning.

If you have news of public events in the Cloudcroft area, email

For an online calendar of area events, click the Events Calendar
link in the left column of our home page:


Dear Newsletter:

Don, reading your news letter this pm on Thursday, about Ray.
I hope you get the chance to give him a hug, after 9/11, I give
out unsolicited hugs to my friends, I never know when I might
get the chance again. No one has ever pushed me away, or said
please don't do that.

I think we are all more huggable now. Try not to pass up
another chance when it comes to you.

Jeanie Yarbrough,
Lindale, Tx.

Dear Newsletter:

Your comments about Ray, the Federal Marshall, being called
back to duty has really given me something to think about.

I am a huge fan of Texas History and read all the non-fiction
books that I can get my hands on regarding our early-day
ancestors. One of the things that has always astounded me was
how the early settlers responded to Indian attacks. When a
settler's ranch was attacked, burned out and all the horses
were stolen, the word would be spread to all the surrounding
neighbors to come running to their defense. They would grab
whatever jerky and hardtack they had, grab the rifle,
ammunition and a blanket and volunteer to immediately give hot
pursuit to the escaping Indians.

They never gave any excuses on why they couldn't go. They
apparently showed little fear or alarm. They left their wives,
their children, their livestock and perhaps their crops in the
ground that needed harvesting. They never knew if they were
going to be gone for a week or a month. With little thought of
their own safety they heeded the call of duty and struck the
trail with their friends and neighbors to catch up with and
deal justice to the marauding Indians.

I've pretty much held the believe that if this scenario was to
occur today you'd mostly hear a lot of bellyaching and excuse
making on why they couldn't lend a helping hand.

That's why it was so heartening to hear about Ray. He had a
good life in the mountains. He had already paid his dues to
society and fulfilled his duty. Yet, when he was summoned, he
packed his gear, said his good-byes and took off in pursuit of
the bad guys. Thank God we still have heroes. Thank God we
still have Ray.

Richard Gillespie, DC
San Marcos, TX

Dear Newsletter:

I had a friend who quit the SWAT team in Ft. Worth, Tx to go
be an Air Marshal... he got so bored after 6 weeks he went back
to the SWAT team. The biggest enemy is staying alert on a
strange schedule with various time zones and all.

I know your friend will be of great service to our country.
What you can do for him is supply good, used paperback books.

Take care and send some more cool air down to the Texas Coast
here in Huntsville, Tx.

Rev Dave Smith,
Dir. Good Shepherd Mission

Dear Newsletter:

I felt compelled to write and tell you how right you are about
the "freedom fighters" of today being all around us. It is a
totally different time in history and a totally different way
of fighting our battles. I spent over 20 years being married to
the military, so I am familiar with the emotions of wanting to
"do something" and wondering what it is that we can do.

Like Ray, I feel the need to participate and volunteer. I can
not be "recalled" because I am an ex-military spouse. However I
can wave my flag, be kinder and wiser, stand up and cheer on
those who can "do". And if you will tell me how to find Ray,
I'll drive to Del Rio and give him a hug from both of us.

Thanks again for the newsletters, you ARE doing your part.

Patricia Baxter

Dear Don:

I address this to you and not to "newsletter" because,
although you express what we all feel, it is your writing that
I admire so much.

I have been a reader for about a year and I have never been
disappointed. From your witty garbage dump stories to the
recent times of patriotism and fear, I look forward to every
newsletter that comes.

When I found your little jewel, I was planning another trip to
the mountains and although we don't get to come up there as
often as we would like, you seem to take me there in spirit
every time I read your articles and the activities going on in
your wonderful little village. 

Our first visit there was in 1996, it was a spur of the moment
trip and one of the most wonderful times our family has ever
had. The friendliness and warmth of the people was second only
to the absolute beauty that God provided for our eyes.

We first learned to ski on your mountain (and hope that all
gets resolved soon) and we have made 2 trips in the years since
then. My family has grown up remembering, looking at the
pictures and discussing the wonderful times we've had there,
and I hope to bring my new grand-daughter there to play in
"a little bit of paradise".

Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

Ellen Welch 
Goliad, TX

Dear Newsletter:

Just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy receiving the
Cloudcroft Newsletter.

I have been coming to Cloudcroft for many years during the
winter months to snowmobile and snuggle up in a cabin by a
fireplace. We came the first time when our three sons were
little boys. The youngest of the three will be 41 years old
on November 1st, so that will tell you how long we have been
coming there. Now, they are all grown men with families of
their own, and they bring them there too. This whole family
loves Cloudcroft!!!

I recently was told that on Christmas Eve in Cloudcroft there
is an appearance by Santa in a sleigh pulled by real reindeer
and all the villagers sing Christmas carols in the street and
there is a Bar-B-Que for everyone. Since I heard this, I have
dreamed of being there for this event. However, on your current
events list I did not see an event such as this. I would like
to know if there is any truth to what I heard or not.

With or without this event, we are making plans now to spend
this Christmas in Cloudcroft. Thanks again for the newsletter.

Yvonne Dunklin
Midlothian, Texas

Dear Newsletter:

Hi Don (and Peggy). I don't write letters very often, but since
I am one of your biggest in-town fans, I thought I might share
an adventure with you.

As you know, our selection of restaurants is dwindling, so my
daughter and I tried a new one in Alamogordo - The Other Place.
It has been re-vamped into an Italian dining experience. We
tried pretty much everything on the menu and not only was the
food outstanding, the presentation was impressive. The only
disadvantage to eating Italian food is not having wine with
dinner. However, we asked the manager and were informed they
probably would get a beer and wine license.

Just thought I would share this with you.

Lee Wilson

Dear Newsletter:

I must have gotten "bounced" by my email server this time.
Hopefully there is no problem. I've resubscribed because I
really miss receiving the Newsletter.

While I'm here, let me say that I hope that everyone emails
or calls the USF&W Department regarding the Sacramento
Checkerspot Butterfly. They are listed in the Cloudcroft.com
links page under Resources. The comment period has been
extended until December 5, 2001. Thanks.

Wishing I could be there and waiting to hear from you soon. 

Sharon Cox
Magnolia, TX 

Dear Newsletter:

When my wife and I visited Cloudcroft this last summer we
thought it would be a nice place to pick up some land and live
upon retirement (still do).

One of the things I mentioned to her was that there did not
appear to be too many anti-growth or fringe ecological groups
driving people nuts protecting their "invented" rights by
stomping on other people's vested private property rights.
After seeing your butterfly dilemma arise, I see how wrong I

Unfortunately for your business climate, the same group of
activists that has driven Pima County, AZ (Tucson) nuts with
the Pygmy Owl, is now in your backyard with the butterfly. I
am referring to the Center for Biological Diversity (renamed
the Southwest Center for Biological Diversity after their move
to Tucson). They came to Tucson out of Silver City, NM after 
"some problems" there.

Some of your readers (Judy Hungerford's letter) might want to
go to www.google.com and search under "Southwest Center for
Biological Diversity" to get an idea of their operations.
Search under Web and then click the Group and Directory tabs
for their associations. If you can find their list of donors
it is quite interesting.

If you want to see the havoc they created in Pima County, and
all of Arizona over the Pygmy Owl, search that out also.

Please note, my wife and I are ecologically oriented folks and
financially support groups like the Nature Conservancy and
Audubon Society that function within our system.

We have several friends in the Timberon area and are still
interested in retiring somewhere in the Sacramento Mountains.
We would be interested in purchasing some land to live on (with
our horses). We are in a position (no children) to acquire
property now and create a remainder interest to the sellers
heirs or a legitimate ecological group for preservation.

In the way of unsolicited advice, I will offer some as a Real
Estate Broker and Owner of a Real Estate School -- Don't put
the egg money in a piece of land and think you are going to
get it developed with this group opposing you.

Whatever population forecasts your business relies on may need
to be revised downward.

I have had some unfortunate business experience with these
folks and their supporters. You might want to keep a close eye
or "web watch" to anticipate how their actions will affect your

To summarize, if you rely on more people for your business,
it's bad. If you don't want anyone else around you, it's good.

I hope this has been informative. I will try to answer any
question I can should someone wish to contact me.

Ben Baker
Oro Valley, AZ

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Copyright © 2001 Cloudcroft Online
The Travel and Visitor's Guide to Cloudcroft, New Mexico.
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